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Nashua;65.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/sct.png;2014-10-25 14:51:34
Friday, August 8, 2014

Fire sparks in roof of crematorium

MERRIMACK – Smoke poured out of a crematorium on Henry Clay Drive in Merrimack on Thursday after a furnace operating at the maximum 1,700 degrees ignited a fire in the building’s roof.

The heat of the fire within the small, gray building was so dangerous that firefighters were required to contain the blaze from outside and had to wait hours for a pair of furnaces to cool enough that they could douse them and the flames inside. ...

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MERRIMACK – Smoke poured out of a crematorium on Henry Clay Drive in Merrimack on Thursday after a furnace operating at the maximum 1,700 degrees ignited a fire in the building’s roof.

The heat of the fire within the small, gray building was so dangerous that firefighters were required to contain the blaze from outside and had to wait hours for a pair of furnaces to cool enough that they could douse them and the flames inside.

Firefighters from Merrimack and Nashua rushed to the Merrimack Cremation Service building after receiving a report of an alarm in the building. The owners of the building called the fire department after noticing smoke in the facility’s attic, according to Merrimack Fire Chief Mike Currier.

When responders arrived on scene Currier said they, “Identified heavy smoke,” coming from the rooftop vent.

The blaze was ruled accidental and caused by combustible materials being too close to the furnace exhaust stack. At the time of the fire, the furnace in the building was operating at its maximum temperature of between 1,700 and 2,000 degrees. Because of its high temperature and for safety reasons, firefighters were forced to wait before being able to douse the fire with water.

Instead, the Merrimack and Nashua firemen had to dull and contain the heat by cutting down the eaves of the building until the furnace was cool enough to extinguish.

“It’s very hot. It’s very stressful on them,” Currier said.

The fire cooled to a safe temperature around noon and firefighters were able to clear the scene by 2 p.m. Although there was some damage to the roof of the building, the property owner is in the process of patching up the wreckage.

One firefighter was injured in action and sent to St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua with minor lacerations. He was released later Thursday.

The Merrimack Cremation Service building lies at the end of Henry Clay Drive, along a cul-de-sac next to the YMCA. The business offers its cremation services to funeral parlors in the area, such as the nearby Rivet Funeral Home. The Rivet Funeral Home primarily uses the facility for pet cremations, according to the company.

Emily Kwesell can be reached at 594-6466 or ekwesell@nashua telegraph.com.